Casa Blanca Supermarket, UPDATE
29 November, 2008
A recent interview with the Casa Blanca developer.
(interviewer) "I know that this is the second interview in a month, but we feel that a supermarket on Maio is big news and we would like to follow it closely. Thank you for the time from your busy schedule. We promise not to ask you when it will be open."
"Thank you for that (He said with a smile.) The pleasure is ours. We are honoured for your interest."
(interviewer) "First Sir, why would you take on such an awesome task as to begin a supermarket?"
"Well, you know what they say about fools rushing in. The truth is I'm hungry. There are mini-markets here but they lack the variety that a supermarket can provide and also lack the funds to buy in large quantities."
(interviewer) "Are we talking about higher prices?"
"On the contrary, we will offer a better variety at the lowest possible prices on the island. In this case bigger is better. We can survive on a smaller marginal mark-up and will continue with this strategy of a greater variety at lower prices after we begin importing from abroad."
(interviewer) "That's very good news, but what does this mean for the mini-markets and small food stores in Vila do Maio?"
"There is enough room in this business for everyone. Regardless if they lower their prices or not, they will continue to do well, if for convenience sake if nothing else. In the future when we have established our import business, we will sell food wholesale to these small stores, thus lowering the prices they must pay in Praia."
(interviewer) "Very good, if you don't mind me saying, I see a problem in as much as you have many diverse cultures now on Maio which makes for diversity in taste and therefore difficult to please everyone."
"Good observation. This is a problem. We will have to cater to our local customers and of course different European groups. We will ask customers what they like and try to please everyone as best as we can."
(interviewer) "The lower prices have pleased me already. As you are well aware, Maio has the highest food prices in the Cape Verde which means a larger share of local salaries go for food. Why are prices so dear here in Maio and it's only two hours plus by boat from Praia where the prices are lower?"
"It's logistical: A merchant from Maio must first hire someone in Praia to collect their goods from the supplier, arrange transportation to the port, loading costs, custom tax, shipping costs (then when it gets to Maio the exact same procedure must be repeated once again), and of course there is that age-old reason: lack of competition."
(interviewer) "My word, it sounds very costly and complicated! One last question if I may: what about the lack of boat transportation to Maio?"
"I think we talked about this in the last interview but let me elaborate: Yes, for the present the lack of sufficient freight transportation will be the largest obstacle we have to address. We must endure this major inconvenience as does any merchant on the island, but this will change in the near future and when it does, it will make Maio a much more pleasant place to live."
(interviewer) "Sir, speaking on behalf of everyone on Maio, we wish you the very best of luck in your difficult endeavour. We will be there at opening."
"You will be most welcome. Thank you for your well wishes. We will see you then."
Interviewer after thoughts:
I, like most people, just go to the supermarket when I need food with little thought from where and how it came. I never realised until today the amount of work and operational costs involved. I will not take it for grant again... especially in Maio.
Casa Blanca Supermarket
19 November, 2008
In a recent interview with the Casa Blanca developer, we asked him why the delay in the supermarket opening?
His answer: "Because of the size of the project, the three-story Casa Blanca building, which will house Maio's first supermarket, has taken almost three years to date."
The Supermarket is finished, the delay in the opening has been due to the lack of adequate shipping transportation and import delays. As you know, boat transportation from Praia is at the present one of Maio shortcomings, but we are quite certain that this important issue will be addressed this year. In the meantime we are expecting the rest of our furnishing today and the next boat will carry our food stuff", he said.
"Do you have any idea when you will open?"
"I can definitely say by Christmas, but I won't say what year", he answered jokingly.
Interviewer's note: "After viewing the supermarket for the first time, I must say I was surprised at its large size. It is a first class endeavor and will be well worth the wait."